National Arena League ends Antonio Brown’s ownership of Albany Empire over missed dues

Antonio Brown, once again, has flamed out of professional football.

On Thursday, the National Arena League unanimously terminated the membership of the Albany Empire, the team that Brown owns, over a failure to pay mandatory assessments that had become overdue. The league announced the decision, which was made during an emergency conference call with members in good standing, in a news release.

Brown had also been fined $1,000 for conduct detrimental to the league for public comments he made. The NAL said that Brown has failed to pay that fine as well.

According to the release, NAL teams are required to pay one-seventh of the league’s operating budget through a series of monthly assessments that begin in April.

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The NAL said it then contacted Alex Gunaris, Brown’s accountant, who had requested that all communications concerning financial matters be sent directly to him. According to the release, Gunaris told league executives that “it didn’t seem like Mr Brown was going to pay the assessment or fine.”.

The NAL then set up the emergency conference call, during which a deadline of Thursday at noon was set for Brown and the Empire to submit delinquent payment. The deadline passed without payment, and the league’s board of owners decided to cancel Saturday’s scheduled home game against the Jacksonville Sharks and terminate the Brown’s membership agreement.

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The NAL said it will be adjusting the remainder of the 2023 schedule. The Empire had compiled a 1-6 record thus far, with Albany losing six consecutive games after it won its season opener.

Brown’s father, “Touchdown” Eddie Brown, was an Arena Football standout for the Albany Firebirds and is considered one of the best players in Arena Football history. Eddie Brown was named the Most Valuable Player of ArenaBowl XIII, when he helped lead the Firebirds to a a 59-48 victory over the Orlando Predators.

After purchasing the Empire, Antonio Brown had announced in March that his father would be joining the team’s front office.

Who is Antonio Brown?

Brown, 34, is a seven-time Pro Bowl and four-time All-Pro former NFL wide receiver who starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He later joined the Oakland Raiders in a March 2019 trade, but the team released him in September 2019 after a series of confrontations with executives without him ever having played in a regular season game for the team.

Brown latched onto the New England Patriots on a one-year deal in September 2019. He appeared in one game with the team, which released him later in the month after a sexual assault lawsuit was filed against him and after he allegedly sent threatening texts to one of the women named in the suit. Brown later settled the lawsuit.

In October 2020, Brown signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eventually helped lead them to a victory in Super Bowl 55, in which he caught a touchdown pass. Brown infamously flamed out of the NFL after he quit on the Buccaneers in the middle of a January 2022 game against the New York Jets, when he removed his jersey and pads and trotted off the field shirtless. He left the stadium before the conclusion of the game and Tampa Bay released him shortly afterward.

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Brown had previously “misrepresented their vaccination status under the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols,” which resulted in a three-game suspension.

In his 12 seasons in the NFL from 2010-21, Brown caught 928 passes for 12,291 yards with 83 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s all-decade team of the 2010s.

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